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January 9, 2017   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | UGA, Brazilian foundation to support collaborative…
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Jane McPherson, left, an assistant professor in the UGA School of Social Work, and Zelia Maria Profeta da Luz, director of Fiocruz Centro de Pesquisa Rene Rachou in Brazil, collaborate on a maternal health research project during the workshop held in Minas Gerais in October.

UGA, Brazilian foundation to support collaborative international research

Sue Myers Smith

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By Sue Myers Smith | January 9, 2017
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UGA and the Minas Gerais State Research Foundation have launched a partnership to support international research collaboration with grant awards up to $15,000 to tackle issues, such as Zika and other infectious diseases, that are important to both Georgia and Minas Gerais, a large state located in southeastern Brazil.

The grant program was announced late last fall in Tiradentes, Minas Gerais, where 12 UGA faculty joined their Brazilian counterparts from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Federal University of Vicosa for a workshop focused on creating new joint research initiatives in human and animal health, bioinformatics and genomics. UGA faculty need not have attended the workshop to participate in the grant program.

"UGA faculty already have important collaborations with colleagues in Brazil and in the state of Minas Gerais in particular," said David Lee, vice president for research at UGA. "With this new joint support, we hope to deepen and expand our relationships."

Grant awards will support preliminary research, partnership development and proposal preparation. Eligible proposals must identify and commit to pursue specific sources of external funding as a result of the activities enabled by the program. The program is jointly funded by the Minas Gerais State Research Foundation (whose Portuguese abbreviation is FAPEMIG) and UGA's Office of Research, in conjunction with UGA academic units.

"Brazil is already home to more of UGA's international partnerships than any other country in the world," said Brian Watkins, UGA's director of international partnerships. "Given our shared areas of research, ranging from biomaterials to infectious diseases to agriculture and bioinformatics, Minas Gerais is an ideal strategic target for collaboration with the University of Georgia."

The UGA-FAPEMIG program continues an increasing commitment to international research and service at UGA, following the Global Research Collaboration Grant Program that was launched in April to encourage UGA faculty to pursue externally funded research initiatives abroad.

"I have been involved in instructional and research collaborations with Brazil since my tenure as head of the department of Romance languages, subsequently as associate dean in Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and especially in my current role," said Noel Fallows, associate provost for international education. "The strong base of established partnerships in the region has enabled faculty across the university to escalate the research relationship with the state of Minas Gerais to the institutional level, which in turn will provide concrete opportunities for large-scale grant funding in future years."

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